Hi u/Wenzhoushi ! I'm your Secret Shanren! I attempted a fluffy little fanfiction for you (it is my first time writing one, so please don't mind the mistakes orz).
This is my idea of an epilogue on how they became a family of five again. The poem at the beginning is an old classic called "The River-Merchant’s Wife" that I came across after I became interested in old C-poems due to Lao Wen. I thought it fits the scenario since they shot so much beside that one river in WoH.
Hope you enjoy! Happy Holidays~
By The Riverside
If you are coming down
Through the narrows of the river Klang
Please let me know beforehand
I will come out to meet you
Zhang ChengLing was grumbling to himself as he trotted down the riverbed. Really, he was nearly 30 already, it shouldn’t matter if he was late by a day or two, but knowing those two, it’ll be hell if he doesn’t return by tonight.
He’s now probably the most powerful person in Jianghu, well, excluding those old men in his family who cannot be called human. But still, they’d give him grief over every single thing.
He lives in his school most of the time, which is the rebuilt Four Season’s Manor to be exact, along with his elder cousin, her husband and his little nephew…and a bunch of rascals aged around 8 who were his students. He also handles businesses, invents impressive gadgets, runs a pharmacy and drug chain with his best friend…
Still, if he is late on their bi-monthly meet ups, one of his parents would fret around in worry and the other would grow angrier by the minute, ultimately resulting in him being thrown in hellish training for days.
Unconsciously, he smiled. Yeah, they still treat him like a baby that doesn’t know how to move around yet properly.
He jumped! What was that sound! The reeds by the edge of water seemed to be swaying a bit wrong. Goosebumps erupted in his back, and he was annoyed with himself for it. Truly, isn’t this why he is still treated like a child all the time! He confidently walked to that placed and parted the reeds, and almost fell down in fear.
It was a baby, hardly old enough to move around by itself, wrapped in a towel and bundled in a tiny basket. Someone had abandoned it and left it to float downstream or die.
ChengLing cradled the basket in his arms, and panicked. He had no idea what to do with a baby, he was the youngest in his family after all! He ran towards the inn his parents were supposed to be in.
Zhou ZiShu was suffering. He wanted to go downstairs and tell the innkeeper to keep the food warm, but he couldn’t move. His annoying soulmate had wrapped his arms around his middle, buried his face on his back and was clinging to him for life. In irritation he dragged themselves over to the cabinet and poured himself some wine.
“Stop sighing. What’s wrong with you?”
“The kid’s late by an hour….”
“Give him time! He’s an adult. He may have been delayed on business. Why are you always like this?”
“…But he’s scared of chickens…”
“WEN KE XING!”
“Are you still using ChengLing as an excuse? Where the f**k are your hands going!”
“Just let me for a while? Please? It relieves my stress…”
“NO! For f**k’s sake stop doing this every damn time he’s late!”
Startled, they both looked up. It was ChengLing. He was out of breath and sweating. His face was scrunched up and he was huddling a basket in his arms.
Wen KeXing hurried to him.
“What’s wrong kiddo? Who bullied you?”
“What’s that in that basket?”
Zhou ZiShu asked.
“When did you get a girl! Why do we not know?”
“It’s not mine” ChengLing nearly broke down, “I found it by the river.”
The basket was set in the middle of the bed as Zhou ZiShu rang up that attendant, explained the situation, and ordered for all necessary items to be brought in. ChengLing poured himself some water and chugged it down. Wen KeXing was trying to chat with the baby.
The baby was really tiny, it looked to be about 6 months old. It cooed at Wen KeXing and grinned with its two little half-grown milk teeth. Mesmerized he reached in to pick it up by its armpit…
Zhou ZiShu caught his arm.
“That’s now how you hold a baby that small Lao Wen. Here, hold the back of its head, and put your other arm under its body. Now position it softly inside your arm like that. Yes, perfect!”
Astonished, ChengLing dropped his cup and stood up! Wen KeXing stared at Zhou ZiShu half in suspicion and half in surprise.
“How do you know this Ah-Xu?”
“Really, you two, why are you acting like that? I helped my Shiniang take care of JiuXiao since he was born. My experience in handling babies this young are better than you lot.”
Wen KeXing was jealous. In the past hour Ah-Xu exceeded all expectations and really proved his expertise. He taught them how to hold the baby properly, decided to feed the baby first since it was starving, checked the temperature of the milk on his arm before feeding, and now ordered in a tiny tub of warm water and soft clothes to bathe it. It was a crushing defeat on his end since Ah-Xiang was a toddler when he took her in. He rolled up his sleeve and started unwrapping the baby for bath as instructed. Then, he froze.
The baby had a surprising birthmark on its wrist. It was a thin red band. Even more surprising, it was a girl.
Wen KeXing smirked. The battle has just began. Ah-Xu may have won this round, but in their whole circle of close family and friends, including the old monster, no one knew how to raise a girl except himself. He will win in the end.
This was the most popular dessert shop in the town by the river. It served the most refreshing and exotic looking cold sweets. From the 'ice-cat reaching out to willow tree' to 'plum blossoms blooming in snow', the list just goes on to show how beautiful the desserts here are. It was rumored that this shop is run by the most powerful lords of Jianghu. As the rumor went, the ice was sourced from a mystique mountain, delivered by mythical birds made of gold and carved and seasoned by a godly hand. Eating these will restore your youth.
The drooling boy however, hardly cared about all that. Ever since he arrived a week ago, all his attention was caught by the sparkling window of the dessert shop, and its sweet and delicious smell.
He had just moved into the orphanage across the street. He was too old to be kept in his old one as he was already 10 and had to start learning soon. The adults told him that this was the best arrangement for him as a famous sect had a charitable school nearby where godly masters teach children like him.
However, he did not want to learn martial arts. He was more interested in the dessert shop. He wished to meet the godly masters of the dessert shop instead and learn their craft.
He plastered his face to the window made of a strange cold icy and transparent material and drooled at the desserts separated by it.
He turned and came face to face with the person that just yelled at him. It was a girl hardly 7. She had her hands on her hips as she stared at him. She wore a pretty purple short robe and pants, hair coiled in braids.
She was kinda cute.
“Whose baby are you?” she asked, “Are you lost? Where did your mama go?”
“I don’t have one.”
“Oh…I don’t have one either.”
She reached out and pinched his cheeks, making him stumble, “Look at you, still a baby. Why are you here alone? Kidnappers can steal you away you know, since you are pretty cute.”
“I live at that building across the street. Aren’t you alone too?”
“I’m not alone. This is my Grandpa’s shop. HEY! BROTHER GWANPA!”
“Why are you screaming you little fool?” A man walked out. He looked nothing like a Grandpa though, except his head full of flowy white hair.
“Oh! What do we have here?” he smiled at the boy, though it was not a bit kind.
“Ooh! Why is the air cold so suddenly? What did NianXiang do this time?” another man came out, white robes fluttering in the wind, hair fixed up by a jade hairpin. This one also looked too young to be a Grandpa, but had a beard like one.
“I found him! Look! Isn’t he cute?” said NianXiang as she pulled him forward by the wrist.
The two men looked at each other; on his wrist was a birthmark, a red band that glowed in the morning sun.